Often, we get so caught up in what foods we’re eating, we forget that the first step to a healthy diet lies in preparation. It’s no use living on fresh veggies, for example, if you’re going to fry them in an inch of butter. I’ve done some research and put together a list of 8 healthy cooking habits to follow that will help you to keep your body in great condition.
1. Cut Back on Salt
This is a pretty obvious one. By now, we all know that too much salt is bad for us. In fact, dieticians recommend we cut recipe quantities in half. I’m not sure I’d want to be quite this extreme though – unseasoned meat and fish sound pretty dull to me.
2. Avoid Aluminium
Experts recommend that we don’t cook our food in aluminium containers. There is a danger, apparently, of the metal infusing the meals and this can lead to aluminium build up in the body, which can, in turn, cause Alzheimer’s and dementia.
3. Reduce Fat in Your Baked Goods
A particularly ingenious and effective way to lower the fat content of your cakes and puddings is to substitute half of the butter, lard (!!!), or margarine with a fruit puree or fat-free Bulgarian yoghurt. I think this is a fabulous idea – your tasty treatrs remain just as tasty and you get to munch on them without the guilt factor.
4. Never Eat Charred Foods
Flame grilled meats are high in carcinogenic compounds and you really should avoid them at all costs. Instead of grilling, pan fry, poach or roast your foods – and also remember that too much red meat is never a good idea either.
5. Steam Your Veggies
Steaming is a great way to deal with veg. It ensures most of the nutrients stay in the food and won’t result in limp, colourless and bland side dishes. Get yourself a Japanese style bamboo steaming pot – you’ll never go back to boiling again.
6. Ditch the Grease
Instead of greasing your pan or grill with oil or butter, choose a non stick spray. There are several of these on the market and the best and healthiest among them are vegetable based and won’t give your food a strange, ‘aerosol’ type taste.
7. Microwave Safe
When you defrost or warm foods up in the microwave, take care to use only containers marked ‘microwave safe’. Some materials undergo compositional changes at high temperatures and might impart dangerous chemical into your food. Glass and ceramics are a pretty safe bet, but plastics pots and bowls should be checked before use.
Obviously, hygiene is very import in the kitchen. You should regularly wipe your surfaces with detergent impregnated wipes, and should also keep separate chopping boards for different kinds of food. The one used for meats needs to be cleaned particularly thoroughly – scrubbing wood with course sea salt and hot water is a good primer. Follow this up with an ordinary disinfectant after use to ensure your cutting surfaces remain bacteria free.
This is my list of 8 healthy cooking habits to follow. Have a left anything out? Let me know!
Top Photo Credit: anolobb